Three centuries hence, the ubiquitous Company will invent time travel. So from that point backward, it set about rearranging the past to ensure its own success, by sweeping up potential operatives from every epoch, turning them into immortal cyborgs, and putting them to work. In the California of 1865, Mendoza, a botanist originating in 16th-century Spain, gathers about-to-become-extinct plants in the very location where Hollywood will one day exist. Though Mendoza and her colleagues serve prudish, puerile, computer game—obsessed 24th-century masters, the here-and-now is the wild, wild west, where the bullets fly, the dust rises, and strange plots hatch. Against all the rules, security tech Porfirio somehow has contrived to maintain contact with his mortal relatives. Zoologist Einar enthuses about the movies that someday will be made there. Anthropologist Imarte gathers astonishing data as a whore, while traveling salesman Oscar strives to sell his Criterion Patented Brassbound Pie Safe. Seventeen-year-old Juan has a passion for birds. And poor Mendoza, still grieving for her lover, dust these three hundred years, unwittingly generates Crome radiation with spectacular psychic effects. In a further twist of the knife, her lover’s double appears, in the person of handsome, multitalented British spy Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax. Cue another doomed affair for Mendoza; but this time she’ll gain terrifying insights into the way Dr. Zeus manipulates its operatives and their circumstances for its own undisclosed ends. A magnificent third entry (In the Garden of Iden, 1998; Sky Coyote, 1999) in an intelligent, thoughtful, and absorbing series.